How Plastic Is Causing An Environmental Emergency In Bali

Pictures of the island's sandy beaches, stunning rice fields, and majestic mountains make it look like a paradise - but there's more to Bali than meets the eye
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Plastic on a beach in Bali

Plastic on a beach in Bali (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Bali is known as one of the most popular holiday destinations in Indonesia.

With its combination of sandy beaches, stunning rice fields, and majestic mountains, this beautiful island often appears in exquisite pictures in your Instagram feed.

It looks like a paradise...But is this the reality?

Dark side of Bali

This side might shock you...

More than 240 tons of trash are produced each day in the southern part of Bali alone, and 25 percent comes from the tourism industry. A few decades ago, the Balinese locals used banana leaves to wrap their food, which naturally decompose over a short period of time.

With the introduction of plastic, the missing knowledge and the absent waste management system, Bali is in a plastic emergency. Most of the waste ends up being burned or dumped in rivers, backyards, and landfills.

Part of the problem

During the rainy season, much of the trash gets washed into the waterway which then ends up in the ocean. More than 6.5 million tourists see the waste problem in Bali each year, but do not realize that they are part of the problem too.

Statistics show that one tourist produces an average of 5kg of trash per day. That is over six times what an average local would produce in a day.

Most of the waste produced by tourists comes from the hotels, eating out, and snacks. Compared to their home country where the trash might end up correctly in a recycling facility, here in Bali, the story is not the same.

Bali has a plastic emergency unfolding

Part of the solution or part of the problem?

This is a problem. Realizing that every decision that you make is either contributing to the solution or to the problem is the first step in protecting this beautiful island.

So what can you do as a tourist to be part of the solution?

Choose eco-friendly accommodations that care for the environment
Refuse single-use plastic. Bring your own reusable bottle, straw, and bag while you travel.

In Bali there are many refill stations where you can refill your reusable bottle. You can download the 'refillmybottle' app which shows you all the refill stations in Bali.

Contribute

Also, there are many Clean-Ups happening in Bali every day. Join the group and experience first-hand the issues of single-use plastics - and be an active part of the solution.

When you see waste at the beach or on the street, don't hesitate to pick it up, every little bit helps.

As Zero Waste Chef says: "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly."

Not trash island

It's about trying our best in lowering our negative impact on the planet while also enjoying and having a lot of fun traveling.

Bali is a paradise and is rich with its culture, beautiful places, and warm community, but we need to make sure that it does not turn into a trash island.